Silence Unwanted Callers Who Keep Calling Your Cellphone

Baby Toolkit has a great method for silencing people who keep calling your cellphone and can never seem to get it into their head that there is no “Maria” at this number and there never will be. Create a contact called “Wrong Number” and change its ring settings so the ringer is silenced. Whenever a wrong number calls, add it to the contact. Boom, saves you cellphone minutes, aggravation, and the time it takes to dig through everything to find the phone only to find out it’s for Maria, again.

Hack Your Cell: Identify Regular Wrong Number Callers [Baby Toolkit via Lifehacker]
(Photo: Getty)

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  1. MercuryPDX says:

    The only problem I foresee is them leaving voicemail. This doesn’t block wrong numbers, it just removes your awareness of them.

  2. stopNgoBeau says:

    This is great. I get about 6 calls a day from fax machines to my cell phone. They never leave messages, just call, and make me search for my phone. Now, I’ll never know they called until I review missed calls on my cell.

  3. Mike_ says:

    I call mine “Z-Ignore” so it goes to the bottom of my phonebook.

    I set it up when I kept getting hangup calls from a scammy autodialer with an invalid caller ID (just said “514”). I’ve added a few other numbers to the entry over the past year or so. Works fine.

  4. bohemian says:

    I give labels to unwanted callers who just can’t get it through their head to quit calling my cell phone. Telemarketers or upsellers, and other ones I generally don’t want to dig through my purse just to tell them no or get lost for the millionth time.

    I do wish there was a way to force a number to be shown on a cell phone display or auto reject all “unknown” numbers. I also wish there was a way to turn off voicemail on my cell phone. I don’t check it so messages pile up and those people think they made contact with me.

  5. demonradio says:

    I used to get calls for a chick named Nicole Smith for about 6 months to a year after I got my new phone. At first I was nice and said no, this isn’t her number anymore, please take it out of your records. And they still kept coming. So anytime I’d get one of those calls I’d just put the phone up to the speakers and blast some music and they eventually stopped. But it was hilarious when I changed my voicemail message to some outrageous song for children about certain parts of the body *hint hint* and people leaving messages for this Nicole chick were either horrified or couldn’t stop giggling while leaving their messages. Knock on wood, I haven’t had a call for her in about a year. I found it more as a source of amusement than a source of aggravation though.

  6. IphtashuFitz says:

    Heh. A former coworker got a phone number that was obviously recycled from a drug dealer. He’d get all sorts of calls from people looking to score a hit. He ended up having the phone company give him a new number.

  7. Klink says:

    @IphtashuFitz: He should have given them to the cops, who’s laughing now?

  8. polyeaster says:

    I’ve always used this practice to label unwanted callers…there was a guy I went out with at one point who harassed me after I said I was no longer interested…I gave him an unflattering name in my cell phone that ended with donotanswer. It made me feel much, much better:)

  9. teqsun.com says:

    I keep getting calls for “amos” I get voicemails from drunken chicks asking about him and I have had this number for over a year. will definantly be giving this a try for those “amos” calls

  10. pigeonpenelope says:

    now if only consumerist can tell me how to stop illegal telemarketing calls from “private numbers”

  11. faust1200 says:

    Yeah my bad on all those wrong number calls. Maria if you’re out there *call me* please. I know we can work it out this time.

  12. Benny Gesserit says:

    @stopNgoBeau: I forward fax calls to a fax machine – say the one at work. The think their fax got through and it’ll get trashed the next morning with other junk ads.

  13. snoop-blog says:

    i wish i could have my phone provider block specific numbers from calling through. now thats a service i’d pay extra for.

  14. pestie says:

    A number I had a few years back was very close to a local pizza place. This was in a small town with lots of college kids in apartments. So naturally they’d get drunk and misdial the number. I tried being nice at first, but after a while I got tired of it and just started taking orders. “Yeah, sure, your pizza will be ready in 30 minutes.” The calls eventually stopped.

  15. StevieD says:

    My cell number is shared only with Friends/Family who share their numbers with me. Anybody else is a wrong number or whatever.

    I answer my cell “Warden’s office, how may I help you?”.

    Never get more than one callback.

  16. UpsetPanda says:

    I hate wrong numbers, but I keep a mental list of who calls…the weirdest one was an attempted fax from the Hawaii offices of Morgan Stanley.

  17. snoop-blog says:

    i have a screen call feature on my cell (i’ve never seen it on other phones). it works like a voice memo, except it sounds exactly like my voice mail, the cool thing is i can hear people as they leave their message and choose to answer it if i want. if i don’t want it saves the recording (message) in my voice memo section on the phone.

    at one point it was set up to say that “by hanging on the line to speak with *john doe* you agree to have this call recorded for quality assurance. if you do not consent to being recorded please hang up now.”

    all telemarketers would just hang up. and yes i really could record the conversation. i have a gig worth of memory. i think its a sanyo 5600?

  18. LadyNo says:

    @Jim (The Canuck One): I worked at a copy shop that would often get fax machines calling our regular line over and over. I would get their number from the caller ID and then send them a response back with “THIS IS NOT A FAX NUMBER, STOP FAXING” written really big. It always seemed to work.

  19. deb35802 says:

    Last year I met a guy who was a paranoid schizo and gave him my cell number before I realized his mental illness. I labeled his name “Schizo Name” in my cell phone and should he ever phone me again (he hasn’t) I will know not to pick up.

  20. Buran says:

    @pigeonpenelope: Call the phone company. Maybe you’ll have to file a John Doe suit first, but hey, it works for the RIAA/MPAA.

  21. m0unds says:

    I’ve got a handy feature on my phone (K790a) that allows me to put numbers from my contact list into a list of authorized callers..anyone else calls and it goes straight to VM, but still shows that i missed a call from X number/contact. I have a really limited quantity of people who call my cell, so it works out really well for me.

  22. econobiker says:

    Recently had a nimrod call three in a row for “yo, is dat you, darnell? “. Twice, I was nice guy and said wrong number. Third time I said this was a police drug sting phone number and that his call was consent to us tracing him and talking to him… click

  23. snoop-blog says:

    the best way to get rid of them is to answer the phone like: “indiana state police post 142, is this an emergency?” or “sheriff’s office” or thank you for calling the federal bureau of investigations how may i direct your call?” then get rude and tell them you can put a trace on the line in 5 seconds if you ever recieve another phone call from their company. works like a charm.

  24. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Damn, I wish there were a way to do this for a landline. I don’t know who had my phone number before I did, but in the past six months I’ve gotten calls for Stephanie, Bob, Butch, Millie, a chiropractor’s office, some sort of financial-services place, and at least half a dozen others.

  25. Myotheralt says:

    A couple years ago, my work phone number (555-3888) was one digit off the pizza place (555-8888) and we kept getting idiots who called. Every one of them would still be on after we answered “Headquarters company, this is Corporal Smith, this line is unsecured, how may I help you?”, they would ask “yeah, uh, is this dominoes?” I figure that after a full minute of telling them that we were not dominoes, we just took their order.

  26. MYarms says:

    Hack your cell? This is more like common sense. I have an entire section of numbers labeled DNA but instead of wrong numbers its mostly people that I don’t want to ever talk to.

  27. bohemian says:

    We had a great solution for unwanted spam faxes that wouldn’t stop after requests that they knock it off.

    A roll of burgundy wallpaper border with a detailed print on it, unrolled and taped together into a loop. Dial their number and hit start. The office fax was one of those that would keep sending pages as long as it detected paper in the feed tray. They would set it off at the end of the night and use up all of the ink in the offending sender’s fax machine. They never had to do it twice to the same fax spammer.

  28. derobert says:

    On my phone (a Nokia):

    Main Menu â–¸ Settings â–¸ Security Settings â–¸ Call Restrictions â–¸ Restrict Incoming calls

    Add them there, and their calls don’t ring, they just go strait to voice mail.

    Hope this helps.

  29. UpsetPanda says:

    One problem is that even if it goes straight to voicemail, I don’t want them knowing my name! For business reasons, I don’t just have a “leave a message” voicemail message. I’d like to block them from even calling me.

  30. Scazza says:

    “Bill’s Taxidermy, You Kill Them, We Stuff Them, Bill Speaking!” is my favorite line to use when answering “unknown” people. If its someone I know, they chuckle and know its me, if its someone else, they usually hang up, or apologize, either way, I get a good laugh.

  31. jmligt says:

    That’s strange, I actually do get people calling my cell phone asking for “Maria”

  32. scoosdad says:

    My tried and true method for live junk calls, both at home and on my cell that I use occasionally when they start rolling in again, is to interrupt them early on and say, “excuse me, but this is a business line”.

    Ninety nine percent of the time they say, “oh, I’m sorry, excuse me” and hang up. The other one percent, I hang up on them if they don’t react like the other 99%. Most telemarketers are pushing their pitches on consumers, and the perceive it as wasting money if they think you’re a business, and you usually won’t hear from them again. I doubt if they ever bother to check the validity of my claim. They’re probably not even aware if the call is going to my cell, so they buy it hook line and sinker.

  33. Dustbunny says:

    @Scazza:

    I also like “Joe’s Morgue – you kill ‘em, we chill ‘em”

  34. alhypo says:

    That’s fine for repeat callers. But my dad ended up with a contact number once belonging to one of our state senators. The worst part is, she is a senator we sort of like, so we weren’t able to justify “messing” with the callers and making her look bad. It could have been so much fun. Oh well.

  35. chocxtc says:

    I wonder how to block calls from either an unlisted or blocked number. I get at least four of these every day.

  36. bonzombiekitty says:

    @Scazza: My dad uses “Eagle cleaners, we clean eagles”.

  37. zibby says:

    @pestie: I hear ya. Way back when my number must have been pretty close to the travel office/service of a now defunct major accounting firm. I usually got a few calls a day on weekdays, got pretty sick of it, and finally just started setting up bogus flight/hotel reservations if I had the time. It took a couple months, but I guess eventually the memo went out and the the calls dried up.

  38. MostNutsEver says:

    Every now and then I get calls from people thinking my number is the local DMV. I have no idea why though… I looked up all of the DMV’s in South Carolina and none of the numbers are even close to mine. Thankfully its such a rare occurrence now that I don’t have to worry about it too much though.

  39. AndrewJC says:

    @snoop-blog: Isn’t impersonating a federal officer considered a felony or something? :)

  40. econobiker says:

    I forgot to mention that my folks home number had been one digit off from a popular ribs restaurant (now since burned down- go figure)- this before answering machines were cheap. The calls for orders were a pain enough but the 1-2am calls from employees friends about picking them up were hell. We’d take fake orders or say the employee was fired for a while. Then the adult son of the owner ended up at our home (for a completely unrelated church activity) on a busy summer Friday night. He couldn’t believe the pain that the calls were. From there on out, my parents were comp’ed a two meals a month for the hassel. They even put an adverstisement for the restaurant (with correct phone number) on their answering machine message when they finally got a machine…

  41. SpdRacer says:

    Cook County Morgue, You Stab ‘Em, We Bag ‘Em!, is my favorite way to answer the phone.

  42. ltlbbynthn says:

    @snoop-blog: my past two phones have had that feature (something I can’t remember and a Katana II) but I couldn’t think of any good screening message. You’ve got an excellent one!

  43. niaray says:

    On my phone (Motorola Pebl): settings-security-where you’ll find two nifty functions: “restrict calls” and “call barring.” Restrict calls allows me to accept calls only from numbers in my phone book. Call barring, I assume is what it purports to be, but sadly the feature is not available to me. This may have to do with this being an unlocked European cell phone (Italina carrier ITim).

    Hope this helps.

  44. snoop-blog says:

    @AndrewJC: yeah but so is calling a number on a federal do not call list. i’ve never had anyone call my bluff.

  45. snoop-blog says:

    @ltlbbynthn: thanks, it worked great for debt collectors as well, their practices are so illegal, none of them wanted to be recorded.

  46. rwalford79 says:

    All my Helio phones have a CALL IGNORE or CALL BLOCK feature (different on different phones) that route the call either DIRECTLY to voicemail, or simply play one of two sounds… either a busy signal, or off the hook signal. It then disconnects them.

    I never have to worry about those “friends” calling I dont like.